Contherm Max for quality clean-label food production that is reliable and energy efficient

After experiencing sealing issues with scraped surface heat exchangers (SSHE) from another manufacturer, US-based food manufacturer Cedar’s Foods turned to Alfa Laval for help. The solution? The Alfa Laval Contherm® SSHEs resolved the sealing issues and, a few years later, the Contherm Max double-wall SSHE increased production capacity and improved energy-efficiency for Cedar’s Foods.

DATE 2019-06-14

Today’s health-conscious consumers are looking to buy delicious food products made from fresh natural ingredients. Cedar’s Mediterranean Foods, an established US-based manufacturer, has long been attuned to this trend – producing organic hummus, snack dips and salads using pasteurization technology to ensure shelf life and keep their products preservative-free.

When the seals of the company’s original scraped surface heat exchangers(SSHEs) had reliability and capacity issues, downtime was costly. Cedar’s Foods’ chief operating officer Nick Scangas decided to find out more about Alfa Laval Contherm systems. After much discussion, Alfa Laval supplied five Contherm SSHEs to heat, pasteurize and cool Cedar’s hummus according to design specifications.

 

Strong partnership, 30% growth in annual business
On-time delivery, outstanding thermal and mechanical performance, and deep trust have shaped the partnership between Cedar's Foods and Alfa Laval – not to mention outstanding performance from the Contherm SSHEs.

“We needed a solution to heat our product to a temperature that would kill contaminants, then cool it back down and put it in our cup,” says Scangas of the hummus pasteurization
process. “We needed something extremely reliable. That was the Alfa Laval Contherm.”

The Contherm easily withstood the high hummus pasteurization pressures that the original SSHEs did not, effectively eliminating seal failures. The result: reliable performance and more uptime.

“We could focus on our core business and trust the technology,” says Scangas.

 

Increase in capacity

After years of smooth hummus production and increasing demand for its all-natural, clean-label hummus, Cedar’s Foods needed to expand its production capabilities. At that time, Alfa Laval was developing the Contherm Max, a new double-wall SSHE with a much larger surface area and up to three times the capacity of the standard Alfa Laval Contherm. Dozens of trials had taken place in the Alfa Laval Customer Testing Center to confirm heating, cooling and cleaningin- place performance. But it was first at Cedar’s Foods that the Contherm Max prototype was tested under actual operating conditions.

“There was no hesitation at all from me,” Scangas says. “I trusted the relationship and the equipment so much that I just said, ‘Let’s do it.’”

However, high demand for Cedar’s Foods hummus prompted the company to use the prototype to transition directly into full-scale production. The Contherm Max prototype did not disappoint, proving to be production-worthy – so much so that Cedar’s Foods bought it. To scale up to commercial production, Cedar’s Foods also bought two Contherm Core units for heating and another two Contherm Max units for cooling.

A few months later, the new production line was up and running. For Cedar’s Foods, the advantages of the Alfa Laval Contherm Max were clear: rapid ramp up of the plant’s production capabilities, reliable performance and the ability to satisfy growing consumer demand.

 

Plug-and-play system with installation and energy savings

Another advantage: a compact footprint and ease of installation as a plug-and-play system can reduce installation costs by up to 30%. Due to Contherm Max’s larger capacity, Cedar’s Foods can run fewer systems with lower overall power requirements, which delivers energy savings.

 

Reliable service and support

As Cedar’s Foods continues to expand its business, Alfa Laval is there to provide advice, service and support. Cedar’s Foods employees understand how to operate and maintain the scraped surface heat exchangers. This ensures more uptime.

To meet growing demand, Cedar’s Foods purchased two additional pasteurizers, including six Contherm Max units. Since the partnering with Cedar’s Foods, Alfa Laval has installed more than 30 heat exchangers on the organic hummus maker’s production lines.

“The support is more valuable here than any piece of equipment,” Scangas concludes. “It’s been outstanding. That’s why I’m going to be buying more systems. There’s just no second choice.”

Nick Scangas,  Chief Operating Officer at Cedar’s Foods

Our utility company analyzed energy consumption at the plant. The energy savings from the Contherm Max are significant and represent about 25% of our investment "

 

Christopher Gaudette, Chief financial Officer at Cedar’s Foods,
on the support and knowledge transfer his team receives from Alfa Laval.

 Alfa Laval has been a true partner...You can pick up the phone and you will have somebody at our facility within an hour. It’s not a matter of time, it’s a matter of urgency. It’s about us being able to continue to ensure production uptime.